This month I would like to talk about Fish Oil, I have been using fish oil for years now and recently came across this interesting research which supports what I have seen personally and seen in clients in clinic.
"The human nervous system is a complex and delicate network comprised of billions of cells communicating through biochemical interactions. Although neural impulses predominantly result from sodium-potassium exchange, various other factors including amino acids, neurotransmitter precursors and omega-3 fatty acids, have an impact on cell membrane permeability, neurotransmitter metabolism and glial cells.
As the brain is highly enriched with omega-3 PUFAs, several biological processes are influenced by their concentration, including neurotransmission, cell survival and neuro-inflammation. Decreased levels of these essential fatty acids can have implications on nervous system function and subsequently influence cognition and mood.
A randomised placebo-controlled trial investigating the effects of high dose omega-3 supplementation on inflammatory cytokine production and mood outcomes, found a 14% decrease in stimulated IL-6 production and 20% reduction in anxiety scores. This study included 68 healthy medical students and compared the effects of 2.5 grams of EPA and DHA versus placebo during a 12-week study design. Students were evaluated at carious time points during the study period, including the day before major exams, to determine the impact of the supplementation during these stressful periods.
Significant improvements were noted for the omega-3 group, particularly with regards to reducing the negative mood symptoms. frequently observed during exams. As pro-inflammatory cytokines promote the secretion of corticotropin- releasing hormone (CRH) which subsequently impacts the hormonal stress response, the authors documented that this may help plain the positive treatment effects.
Interestingly, the authors also reported that this is the first evidence of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation providing a mood supporting effect for individuals without a diagnosed anxiety disorder. As a reduction of brain omega-3 PUFA concentration can negatively influence neurotransmitter receptors, leading to an increase in serotonin 2 (5-HT2) and decrease in dopamine 2 (D2) receptor density in the frontal cortex, there are clearly several influencing mechanisms through which EPA and DHA supplementation support optimal nervous system function and neural communication."
The most important part of choosing a fish oil, is to get the best quality that you can afford, practitioner level fish oil has undergone rigorous testing and is sourced from pristine conditions, avoid cheap brands as the mercury content is often unknown and can contain unwelcome nasties. If in doubt speak to a health practitioner.
Love, J x